We can’t all be Stephen King

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As a writer who wants to help people, you pour your heart and soul into an article.

You do the research. You describe your own experience on the topic. You edit and tweak your words with help from the Grammarly and Hemingway apps. You wait for days to get feedback from subject matter experts and other folks you trust. You add a related, high-quality image with proper attribution and maybe a thought-provoking quote. Then, when you feel your article can’t get any better, you send it off to a vetted publication and wait.

One month later, you check your stats…


Use your best words, but also focus on the response

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The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

— George Bernard Shaw

Communication affects every aspect of your life, so don’t piss off your audience.

You communicate every time you speak with, write to, or even look at someone else, so your delivery is almost as important as your message. Life may be fast-paced, keeping us busier than ever, but that’s no reason to ignore one of our most basic human needs. Brushing up on your communication skills can only improve your occupational and social life. That goes for pet owners, too.

Empathy helps…


Unexpected praise can do wonders

How a Surprise Note Helped Me Outgrow Shyness
How a Surprise Note Helped Me Outgrow Shyness
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I’m not the life of the party. Never have been.

I grew up with an unassuming personality, and my childhood family life was comfortable and protected. Fair enough. But out in the cruel world, bullies and even some friends influenced me easily, taking advantage of my natural shyness and gullibility.

I had trouble thinking for myself for a long while. Waffling on decisions became frustrating.

It got to me. I was frequently angry, and it made me feel like an outsider. The cliquey atmosphere of high school didn’t help, either. I was more intense than I needed to be at…


Don’t “kill your darlings.” Save them for later.

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When I write, sometimes I catch an illness I call “Thesaurus Brain.”

I may have to step away from writing the first draft of an article, then finish a day a two (or five) later. When I return, an idea jumps from my head, through the keyboard, and onto the screen. Great. Just like any other writer. But then I’ll discover I’ve already described the same idea earlier in the article, using different words or phrases.

Main Causes

I suspect this unintentional duplication happens for two reasons:

  • I try to get my first draft onto the screen before editing. If I don’t…


Break out of this prison by focusing on your passion

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I rarely write about cutting-edge or controversial topics. I prefer to stay out of the limelight, close enough to see everything but sufficiently detached to go my own way. I’m a literary wallflower.

While I do favor a few newsworthy topics, I tend to fall back on the underdogs you’d be hard-pressed to find as a top story on NPR. I take the daily, mundane bits of life and turn them sideways. Or sometimes I flesh them out so folks can understand these everyday items a different way.

As writers, we’re always encouraged to focus on subjects we’re passionate about…


Concert band: the unsung heroes of music

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Everybody Geeks Out

The term band geek might inspire strange images to those not familiar with the music world. How strange? That depends on the musical entertainment you’ve been digesting and your definition of band.

Merriam-Webster defines band in the musical sense as “a group of musicians organized for ensemble playing.” The music style doesn’t matter — a band is a band.

M-W also defines geek as “an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity,” but you don’t have to be a techie to wear this label these days. …


This includes your existing progeny

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Deal breakers. Relationship requirements. That which you won’t tolerate.

I see them on OKCupid member profiles all the time, and rightfully so. While lots of folks are open-minded, the reality is most have at least a few necessary or unacceptable conditions for a long-term relationship.

For instance:

  • “Must love dogs.”
  • “I don’t serial date.”
  • “Liars need not apply!”
  • “I’m a sucker for science and empathy.”
  • “Please move on if you voted for [insert politician name].”

Your results may vary.

Call me naïve, but when I see statements like these, I take the authors at their word. They’ve drawn their lines…


Train yourself to look at the camera

Author/Hello, Dave.

You’re zooming with friends or coworkers. While making a point, saying something significant, or just chatting away, you look directly at someone. They’re paying attention and probably looking back at you on their screen, but you can’t be sure.

Laptop webcams are built into the top of the monitor, not in the center where your eyes spend most of their time. We all know making eye contact is important, but how can you when technology won’t let you?

Pretend it’s a TV camera — your friends or coworkers are the live audiences.

Whether you speak to one person or a…


Or, what’s your comfort level?

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Most writers have a natural publishing “comfort level” they’re drawn to, whether that’s once a month or twice a day. Everyone’s level is different. For me, it varies, depending on how busy the rest of my life is.

Part of the prep includes not just the writing, but the research, editing, maybe getting feedback, and yeah, actually living those all-important life experiences! Much more work than intermittently jabbing your keyboard.

This means most writers probably won’t publish each day, but it depends on a gazillion other factors. For instance, do you have:

  • A family?
  • A non-writing day job?
  • A list…


How one moment and lots of time can heal a heart

Photo by Annette Sousa on Unsplash

It was our first and last kiss.

When I see one of her Facebook or Instagram updates, that warm kiss pops into my head now and then, that amazing moment almost three decades ago. And my boyish efforts that, in part, led up to it.

Looking back now, it must’ve been sometime during college when my heart began to see her as more than my buddy’s girlfriend. Thou shalt not covet, I know. But her openness, her frequent smiles and laughter, and her stunning looks caught me off guard. …

Len Morse

Musician | Investor | Pet Parent | Pre-Covid Traveler | Movie Buff | Swing Dancer

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